Circular, symbolic images have been used as sacred art in many cultures and spiritual traditions around the world. In Sanskrit, they are called Mandalas, meaning Sacred Circle[i] and Container of Essence.[ii] Since antiquity, mandalas have been recognized as symbols of wholeness, representing the essential nature of the individual as well as that of the universe. Creating, meditating, looking at or praying with a mandala is a path of transcendence through which the creator and meditator can connect to the True or Divine Self. Mandalas are also used as subtle energetic support for manifesting intentions of healing and transformation. They create sacred space for rituals of healing and meditation. Traditional healing cultures place the sick in the center of a circle in healing ceremonies.
Psychologist Carl Jung discovered what he called the “unconscious self” through his experience with mandalas. He writes,
The self, I thought, was like the monad, which I am, and which is my world. The mandala represents this monad, and corresponds to the microcosmic nature of the psyche . . . I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.[iii]
The spontaneous occurrence of mandalas in the dreams and art of psychologically disturbed individuals presented Jung with an opportunity for psychological research to investigate its function in the natural healing process.
Judith Cornell described a mandala as “a concrete symbol of its creator’s absorption into a sacred center,” facilitating healing and self-realization. Cornell developed a simple process in which mandalas are “illuminated” using white and colored pencils on black paper squares. In this process, black represents un-manifested energy, white represents light and colors represent the diversity that is unified in white light. The square represents the physical and the circle the spiritual. The circle within the square represents spirit embodied in the physical - invisible energy made visible.
I first experienced making mandalas in a class I took with Dr. Cornell as part of the Transformational Psychology Track at Holos University. She considered the mandala process to be a form of subtle energy healing. She explained that it was more about the process than the product, with no place for ego, judgment and self criticism. I went on to be trained and certified as a mandala facilitator by Dr. Cornell.
Continuing my mandala journey, I could feel that my healing work was changing. Using the mandala process, I asked for a symbol for the new work I was being called to. The Wholeness Mandala showed up. This became my new logo. I put it up where I saw it often. One day, a light bulb popped up over my head:
If traditional healing cultures placed the patient in the center of the mandala to facilitate healing, what if I visualize myself in the center of my Wholeness Mandala intending to facilitate healing and transformation? Thus, the Wholeness Mandala became the portal through which I had the profound experience of Journeying into the Whole of who I am.
Read more in Subtle Energies Magazine - Summer 2016.
GRAPHIC: The Torus Mandala - Prismacolor pencils on black paper. Created by me in January 2016.
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“When we are born, we arrive with two things: Karma and Dharma. Our dharma is what we have to heal our Karma.”
- From a conversation with John Eggen -
The same week, as I heard this, my Ayurveda practitioner, after my first meeting with her commented, “You have such a beautiful Dharma!” There’s that word again!!!
These two words have been rolling around in my head over and over. What does this mean for me in my life? How can I use my Dharma to heal my Karma?
For quite awhile now, I have been dealing with cardiovascular issues – hypertension and diabetes. For over twenty years I have been taking prescription drugs for hypertension. It has not really healed the cause. For about 5 years I have been dealing with Type 2 diabetes. For years while I was living in a warm climate, and could eat raw year round I was fine. But since I have been back in the U.S., I have been unable to eat raw food in the winter. My blood sugar went up, and my doctor read me the riot act, and insisted that I go on meds.
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of pharmaceuticals, and have been trying to get off of them for years. I have been told by doctors that these cardio issues are systemic in our family and that I'm stuck with it. Both sets of grandparents had it. My father and all his siblings had it. Every one of my siblings has some form of it. I agree that it is systemic. however, I don't agree that I'm stuck with it. Epigenetics has established that it's not our genes but our environment (both internal and external) and lifestyle influence our reality.
The Creative Holistic Integration (CHI) Self-care System is very much part of my dharma. When I apply this to my cardio issues, it is often revealed that they are entangled with my paternal great grandmother’s emotional issues. I did not meet Great Grandmother Cornelia in person, but my father told me a bit about her. She was a brilliant woman, but somewhere along the way she went insane. I was around 12 years old when I heard this, and every since, I have felt a great deal of empathy for her.
Cornelia was an Ayurvedic practitioner and astrologer who lived in 19th century Sri Lanka. Her father, my great-great grandfather Epa, himself was a Ayurveda physician and Astrologer - well known for having developed a astrological ephemeris used in Sri Lanka to this day. Epa recognized his daughter's potential, and from a very young age, he had her schooled by his own guru, and encouraged her to develop her gifts. Before he died, he tasked her with continuing his work, and the annual publication of the Epa Ephemeris. A few years after she took over the work, two of Epa's male students, established themselves as the authorized publishers of the Epa Ephemeris. Astrology was not a woman's work. Cornelia received no support from the men in her life - not even from her husband, my great grandfather. This was what I found out from researching what happened to her and why she went insane.
It was Cornelia's Karma to be born a brilliant woman at a time when women were not involved outside the home. She could not get beyond the fact that she was unable to fulfill the work that she had been given by her father. She had been groomed for this all her life, and she could not carry out what she considered to be her life’s purpose. But, as brilliant as she was, she was unable to use her dharma to work through her karma. It broke her heart. Unable to recover, she escaped into her own world. I believe that it is her broken heart that asks to be acknowledged and healed through the cardio issues of our family system. I don't believe that pills are going to do the job.
Attempting to find the balance between my karma and dharma, I was drawn to exploring the possibilities of my ancestral dharma - Ayurveda and Astrology. I had already found out a great deal about myself and my own potential through Astrology. however, I had not explored Ayurveda. I had tried everything except Ayurveda. Recently, I have found myself attracted to Ayurveda. Even my Primary Healthcare MD is also an Ayurveda practitioner. A few months ago, to help heal this karmic issue I turned to Ayurveda.
I have been drawn to Ayurveda as a healing system for a long time, but for some reason I have not tried it until now. This is not to say that the other modalities are not effective. It simply means that this was the one that was right for me at this time. I also recognize that since my great grandmother did not fulfill her life purpose. I feel that to heal myself and my family system, my work is to fulfill mine. I consider my life purpose to be to learn to holistically heal the root cause/s of my health issues, and to help others to do the same in ways that are appropriate for them t move forward on their evolutionary journeys.
Unlike Cornelia, I am here on earth at a time, when, as a woman, I have the opportunity, the information, the resources and the support to be and do whatever I choose, including fulfill my life purpose. For this blessing, I am deeply grateful.
ABOUT THE GRAPHIC: Mandalas are a form of energy healing that is part of the CHI Self-care System. I created the Heart Healing Mandala with the intention of healing my own heart and the collective heart of my family system. I send the heart healing energy of the mandala out also for the healing of those whose hearts are suffering from inability to fulfill their life's purpose.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO ASK YOURSELF:
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I am energy in human form. I am on the earth to consciously experience the wholeness of who I am: the trinity of body, mind and spirit; oneness, other-ness and the diversity of creative expression, and to consciously experience the contraction and expansion of being and becoming. I came into being when un-manifested conscious energy that lay in the void of nothingness chose to manifest itself as light.
I am an organism which is a miniscule cell of the Earth’s organism, which is a miniscule cell of the sun’s organism, which is a miniscule cell of the organism of the universe. My experiences are uniquely my own, but they are also part of the collective experience of my universe and vice versa. The substance of the energy that I am is pure consciousness.
Being energy, I can be wherever my consciousness chooses to be. No matter which path I take, it will lead to experience, until Spirit chooses not to be me in any specific material form, and returns to the void of nothingness (no-thing-ness) - Nirvana!!
This is not just my story. It's yours and everyone else's too.
Photos: Ruvan Wijesooriya
This is a re-post from February 2009 on my previous blog: Being Energy Being Whole.